if you want to heal
 from   inside
                   open an ironing board
                            run your hands
along the edges
as if this is
                your inner self

                when the light comes on
                you will hear a gurgle
                              a hiss

what shall you iron?          a simple linen dish towel
               is a good start
               as you hold the iron
               wait for the sputter to stop
there will be an even whoosh
like the mystery in Debussy
                       this is the signal to iron
                       the edges of the towel
open the weave             allow it to feel its borders
     this is like stroking the inside of your stomach
             like feeling your leg muscles relax and flex

when the rhythm of the simple linens
                            enters your core
                                   you are ready to understand
        and the beautiful imperfection of crocheting
as you move the iron along the filigree
                      your eyes know that
                                     the ornamentation
is different and similar
                         left side
                        right side
  people driving on the other side
                    the ironing board
                    the  magic   carpet
                                 caressing inner streams
Richard Clair wafted away 
              wafted away       from his body
he's a good friend
     a very good friend
how can you say that? 
you              barely know him
    that's true
            but it isn't true
            he would sit for hours
                               using nowords
a wide uplifted smile on his face
then someone would say 'cycling'
     his frame lit up like
$20,000 touring bikes
                  he spouted streams of words
                             collages of brand names
                                         pastiches of famous bikers
after a jazz concert
                he expected long, stretching silence
                     pockets of pure reverence
if you spoke he startled as though
   you were interrupting replays of long, rhapsodic saxophone solos
walking away was a postlude;              part of the entire episode
                            many times i stood next to him
                            after pouring the wine
                                          no sounds---we were smelling
                                          no touching--we were tasting
                  it was about the wine, we were present and unpresent

and then, political discussions when he would lie limp like a soft snake
waiting for a pause
skillfully he would slide in and never let go of his liberal rope
until you agreed                           or made everyone laugh

he hugged me so many times without the slightest hint of a touch
it was a long universal squeeze 
as he tripled in size, enveloped me 'til i broke away to breathe

when he wafted away  there were ringlets of floating lavender
Chet could be heard in the far off clouds
                                  everyone waved and moved toward silence


every time we say hello we hold each other tighter
      every time we say hello our eyes are so much brighter
            all the gods above us must be in the know
                they think so little of us, we don't want to go
when you're near there's such an air of spring around us
     we can hear a lark somewhere begin to sing about us
        there's no love song finer, don't modulate into a minor
                every time we say hello
"i know those words but they're changed
 oh my god! Ella will be furious."
                         "they've been changed a hundred times
                          she doesn't mind, she's a real lark."
"this is weird, i'm talking to a piece of cloud
 a filmy strip of silver and yet i know i'm talking to Chet Baker."
                          "you are babe. you've listened to me so often
                           and you know how to listen.
                           you close your eyes. you sink into melody
                           you go where it goes, you know what it knows.
                           you know how many times you wanted to scat
                           scat with me now
                           Dick does Chet, Chet does Dick"
"but i can't scat, i don't know step one "
                           "you know all the steps
                            follow that long smooth road of my trumpet
                            keep the melody tucked into your soul
                            let it dance or skip wherever it wishes
                 Chet and Dick do every time, all the time,anytime---"

to the center of the universe
   when you wake, you reach for your ax
        your ax is your instrument
             your ladder to your soul
                  you may need some liquor
                      you may need some dope
                          you may smoke some weird things
                              as you climb the rope
                              we are all in deep meditation
                              Miles with his arrogant tone
                              Louis with his bursts of laughter
                              Ella with her silk and gold
                              it all sounds so easy
                              only if you're always there
                              Stephane has never stopped bowing
                              Morello mumbles to his drums
                              day and night, night and day
                                                 they are our ministers
and we often ignore them                         they are our lawmakers
                              they follow the sound of beauty
                              in their glow is the word
                                               the movement
                              the vision     if we can touch it
                                                   and hold  it
                                                   and feel  it
                               we can wrap ourselves in it
                               and only say hello
                                            never goodbye
only hello                                                  never goodbye 

              only hello     only hello     only hello 

no rain was falling

no raindrops  
      were falling

                no words were falling

only letters were falling
consonants and vowels
              a continual buzz
              which sounded almost like
              inside out Esperanto
              like Polish pushed through
              a Chinese translator
        her black umbrella
        shielded her from letters
        words were unthinkable
        her face was full of sadness
        she couldn't move
        her clothes stood still
        her hands clasped the handle
                         it was silent under the umbrella
                                she melted into meditation
                                she waited for a word
                          a special word that would begin
                          a shining word that would    end
butterfly flutter
          flutter butterfly

   butter flutter
          flutter       fly
   butter flutter       fly
                  butterfly flutter
flutter flutter   
fly      butter         flutter
fly      butter
         butterbutter   flutter
sumer is icumen in
         icumen in butter
         icumen in butterflies
in the almost-empty house
a    beautiful      woman
sits   and    plays     her childhood piano
which resonates throughout house hollowness
tears stream down her face
tears                 fall   upon her fingers
as  she plays the music from her
                              early lessons
the house smiles back with its enormous memory

the house in its almost emptiness
                   holds a beautiful woman
sits and plays      her   adolescent  piano
     everything she plays is family history
ghosts in the dining room panels
spirits on the outside walls
             battles with ancient blackberries
 a transparent grandfather clock joins the harmonies

the almost emptiness of the house
           cradles a beautiful woman
          playing her adult piano
each chord opens a different box
childhood drawings   ballet pictures
each melody emits a new memory vapor
favorite dolls    beloved plastic horses
        tools touched by ancestral hands

in the empty house the beautiful woman
         plays an invisible piano
she begins to sing
 her voice caresses the house remembrance
  her voice travels through the neighborhood
   her voice sings goodbye
    her voice sings hello
        wraps around family hearts
          awakens sleeping spirits
she blends with the voice of god
                      in the empty house
the beautiful woman is silent
            in the peaceful arms of love
it's peculiar how quickly gone
                  becomes gone

it starts as a very faint idea
                             and then
     almost instantly
            i   t  becomes a glowing reality

someone or something is quickly wrapped in goneness
                     and whisked away with no recourse

gone is still present but
     as a fading candle
hot, dripping wax of remembrance and recognition
     drops down the cylinder
                      until there is only a dying wick
                      and   then     no           wick

all gone and
                       until we can't remember
                               what   we  forgot
Grizzly Winds are constantly inconstant
        will take your ashes when you are ready
             will steal your ashes when you're not watching
                                              Grizzly Winds
   a day of so many joys, happiness of multiple colors
                            time filled with laughter
            tears of joy and remembrance
            the radiant bride and groom
            pledged vows with words and sighs
            resounding throughout the ceremony
expectations of all that is good
weaving through food and drink feasting
music rang around toasts and cheers
                  poured onto the dance floor
                  engulfed the newlyweds
                  moved with vaporous grace
                  floated they knownothow
       stars were harvested into the celebrating room
sun hid behind the glowing cake
planets hovered nearby
      swaying     singing
there could be no sorrow on such an evening
                         no sorrow even in the heavy hand
                         on the groom's shoulder as
                  they stepped into a shadow.
                 "her ashes are here
                  we want to spread them in a high place"
even this request couldn't dim his love of everything
                                        and  everyone
                  "we'll do it tomorrow
                   just before twilight
                   i know a high place she will cherish."

late the next afternoon, a family caravan moved toward Grizzly Peak
a high point of contrasting, contrary winds
which blew into your face from one direction
                                  tangled your feet in another mode
a half circle formed with the hands of Mary and Teri, Walt, Melsi, 
Ty and Sadie, Dave, Melsina,  Daniel, Christie, Randy, Kristin, 
Johnny and Karin                           completed the full circle.
love and acceptance mix with the ashes as they move from hand to hand
singing one of her favorite songs
                                hearing the tune and words
                                echo in her spirit voice
Grizzly Wind blew it all together like a mini, tender tornado
                                                      for one moment
 then lifted all away on a laughing invisible updraft 

Grizzly Winds are constantly inconstant
        will take your ashes when you are ready
             will steal your ashes when you're not watching
                                              Grizzly Winds

(for Dolly/Loretta/Lodzia)

if you walk softly
   you will be unnoticed
     unless all around
are soft walkers

         when you speak quietly
can be said
because the roar is deafening

                    moving very slowly
                    can be interpreted as
                    standing still, statuesque
you can be anywhere

closing your eyes and listening
                       is   introspective
as you scan centuries 
there is more flexibility
      in       reflections

than  in concrete      objects

large, looming barn-red houses
          with      peeling

fit neatly upon
     car's back window,
           can    be  stretched
     with the slightest movement.

 an entire row of houses
dangles precariously
 in     a   truck's passing glass panels.

the mind wonders
if       bodies
    are               is the
mirror images         earth              are our
    of what?         an imitation        dreams memories
                               of?                 of


My newest love named Mary Cancer
Came and took my most away
She left enough so I could tell her,
Mary come another day
Go to killers and to thievers
Squeeze them ’til they speak to me
Oh no said Mary in her kissing
This I fashioned just for thee

My growing love named Mary Cancer
Came and took another bit
Those were my highest, purest notes
Please take the ones right next to it
Oh no said Mary like a dancer
Plucking all my favorite tones
The first I take are those most precious
Ones that live inside your bones

My hungry love named Mary Cancer
Came and looked at every poem
Take as many as you fancy
There’re more that call my heart a home
She dug into my deepest thoughts
And chewed away for many weeks
She left me with a vacant feeling
Mind and heart were full of squeaks

My selfish love named Mary Cancer
Came and found me almost gone
No more singing, no more poeming
She had chewed away each bone
Mary Cancer left no answer
There were things to her unknown
She saw nothing but a cavern
All of me shone in my soul
She saw nothing but a cavern
All of me shone in my soul


(Many ┬ápeople who have ‘conquered’ cancer
continue to feel the threat of recurrence
lurking in future shadows. )